Really excited to share a special exhibition I'm part of, at the 'White Cottage Gallery' at Retford Park, Bowral, a beautiful National Trust property in the NSW Southern Highlands.
Fortuna x Quattro (Luck x 4)
A tri-generational group exhibition of four artists of the Luck family; renowned Australian bird and wildlife artist James Luck, his sister, Melbourne based artist Jacinta Payne, their niece Elise Abotomey, an emerging portraiture line artist, and a posthumous retrospective celebrating the life and art of Don Luck, their father/grandfather.
Morning Light - Don Luck
Don Luck was an Australian artist who painted until the age of 81 after which a stroke left him with limited use of his right hand.
A traditional landscape painter, Don also painted seascapes, still life and equine portraits. But it was his love of the Australian countryside that spoke loudest, evident in his depictions of many scenes from around the outskirts of the Southern Highlands where the family lived for many years.
Mostly self-taught, Don loved to paint en plein air. Ever striving to capture the sunlight on the mountains and on the trees, which became one of his specialities. Gum trees, old tin sheds and cattle feature in many of his works. Don was primarily an oil painter, but also used watercolour, inks, acrylics and charcoal.
Don passed away in May 2021.
'Approaching Storm, Wildes Meadow' - Don Luck
James Luck is an award winning and highly respected painter of Australian birds and wildlife. He began a full-time career in art at the age of sixteen in the early 1980's.
He has exhibited both in Australia and internationally since 1985, including at the prestigious Birds in Art exhibition in Wisconsin USA, the Bell Gallery in Berrima, Balmoral Galleries Melbourne, and the Wildlife Artists Society of Australasia.
James’ love of native flora and fauna is reflected in his exquisite work. He spends much time in the bush studying native wildlife to capture their habits and their environment in his artwork.
'Cape Barren Goose' - James Luck
James has contributed work to many publications including the Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds, the cover illustration for Dr David Suzuki’s ‘Wisdom of the Elders’ and a stamp for the Australian Koala Foundation. He was also featured in Penny Olsen's book 'Feather & Brush, 300 years of Australian Bird Art', (of which a new edition has just been re-released by CSIRO publishing in April 2022.)
Supurb Blue Wrens - James Luck
James has been a finalist in many art prizes including Rembrandt Award for best exhibit, WASA Exhibition, Melbourne Australia, Runner up James Hardie Wildlife Art Prize, Brisbane Australia, Meyers Acquisitive Award, WASA Exhibition, Melbourne Australia and his work appears in collections throughout Australia and internationally.
Jacinta Payne (nee Luck)
Living in Melbourne for the past 20 years, Jacinta’s art practice began during a childhood spent in the bush, growing up on the edge of Morton National Park in the NSW Southern Highlands. Spending countless hours immersed in nature, and absorbing knowledge from the collective creativity of the family.
'Dawn Blush' - Jacinta Payne
An intuitive mark maker and painter of remembered and imagined places, Jacinta’s atmospheric and compelling landscapes express her commitment to preserving the earth’s precious resources, and to raise awareness of the need to protect the environment.
'Fire & Flood' - Jacinta Payne
Many of the artworks Jacinta creates are made using reclaimed or upcycled materials. She has exhibited in both solo and group exhibitions and art shows. Jacinta’s work has found its way into private collections around Australia and internationally, as well as public installations around Melbourne.
'Moon Dance' - Jacinta Payne
Creating line art that often takes form in abstract portraits, Elise studies her sitters both visually and intuitively. She explores her subject through line and movement to express her connection to the people around her and those she interacts with. Elise’s portraits illuminate the diversity and complexity of human nature and portray the idiosyncrasies of each of her subjects.
Elise lives in the Southern Highlands and has just completed a double degree in International Studies and a Bachelor of Arts.
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Social media: (Instagram / Facebook) @jacintapayneart
Email - email@example.com
Social media (Instagram) @ea.arts
Entry to the exhibition is free.
Retford Park Gardens are open Thursday through Sunday every week, house access by guided tour only on Saturdays and Sundays.
Ngununggula, Southern Highlands Regional Gallery, is on the same property, and is open every day. Access via 2 Art Gallery Lane, Bowral.
Hearth by Moonacres café is open every day. Access also via 2 Art Gallery Lane, Bowral.
History of Retford Park
James Fairfax AC always believed that Retford Park should be preserved for the enjoyment and benefit of future generations, particularly those of the local district.
On 19 April 2016 in fulfilment of his ambition, Mr Fairfax gifted his historic Retford Park home to the National Trust of Australia (NSW). It was in August 2017 that the National Trust officially took control of the property.
Retford Park is a place of great heritage significance; its European history extends back to grants of land promised to Edward Riley senior by Governor Macquarie in 1821.
The house was built in 1887 by Samuel Hordern (1849-1909) merchant and stockbreeder, and his wife Jane nee Booth. The house at Retford Park (designed by Albert Bond) is set on a low rise, a grand rendered brick Italianate style residence. It was in 1964 that James Fairfax bought the property and started to turn it from an agricultural property to a gentleman’s residence.
Having been in the caring hands of Mr Fairfax for over 50 years, the garden is a delight to wander through.
What you will see when you visit
As you venture up the driveway, the grand Victorian Italianate homestead appears from a towering arboretum of a magnificent collection of evergreen and deciduous trees, some very rare and unique.
Surrounding the eastern side of the homestead is a patchwork of hedged gardens showcasing everything from a detailed knot garden, exquisite swimming pool and pavilion, sculptures demanding centre stage.
A self-led art and nature trail is available for children and families to help discover highlights of the beautiful gardens, developed especially for Retford Park by Southern Tablelands Arts.
Ngununggula, Southern Highlands Regional Gallery
The first regional art gallery in the Southern Highlands opened at Retford Park in October 2021. Ngununggula, meaning ‘belonging’ in the traditional language of the Gundungurra First Nations people, is located in the former Dairy and Veterinary Clinic at Retford Park and has been sustainably repurposed for the new state-of-the-art gallery.
Ngununggula has a separate entry on Art Gallery Lane, near the corner of Rowland Road and Jonathan Street in East Bowral. Please note that due to the road being new, Art Gallery Lane does not yet appear on Google maps.
For more information about Ngununggula including opening times, visit the Ngununggula website.
If you have booked a house tour, please allow at least 15 minutes to get from the entrance gates to the main house. Latecomers risk missing the tour.
Car parking is available on site.
1325 Old South Road, Bowral
- Head up Merrigang Street from Bong Bong Street, the main street in Bowral.
- Follow to the end of Merrigang and turn right at the ‘T’ intersection.
- Watch for the Retford Park white gate, the second driveway on the left.
House Tours: Saturday and Sunday, 10.30am & 12.30pm
Retford Park offers its visitors two experiences they can enjoy:
- Garden Visit: Leave yourself plenty of time to explore the vast arboretum and formal gardens. View the flowers on display, such as peonies, arum lilies, dogwood, clematis, rhododendrons, flowering cherries, camellias and tulips. Take a picnic and enjoy a stroll around the pool pavilion and view the emus.
- Tour of the House & Garden Visit: Be guided through the former residence of James Fairfax AC and see the fascinating collection of furniture, art and textiles on display then enjoy exploring the gardens at your leisure. Due to overwhelming popularity, there are limited tickets to view the Retford Park house and garden.